Skip to main content

2014 NBA draft team grades

With the NBA draft in the books, here are my grades for all 30 teams:

Atlanta Hawks

First Round: Adreian Payne (15)

Second Round: Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48)

Analysis: Payne was one of the more underrated players in the draft. If the Michigan State big man were two years younger, he probably would have gone in the high lottery. A four-year college player, the 23-year-old Payne should be able to step into the rotation immediately and provide shooting and rebounding behind big men Al Horford and Paul Millsap. I like Tavares here, too. The 22-year-old center from Cape Verde is nowhere near ready for the NBA, but he is huge (7-3, 265 pounds) with massive hands. He might be able to contribute in a year or two.

Grade: B

Boston Celtics

First Round: Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17)

Second Round: None

Analysis: I’m not sure Smart was at the top of Boston’s wish list; Aaron Gordon, who went two picks earlier, was up there, and the Celtics almost certainly would have taken Joel Embiid if the Kansas center had slid to No. 6. That said, Smart is a solid pick. He’s cut out of the Derrick Rose/Russell Westbrook mold of big, physical point guards. It’s hard to see how he plays with Rajon Rondo, but that’s a problem for another day. Young’s stock slipped after he reportedly missed some workouts following a minor car accident, but the Kentucky swingman has great size and length and scouts see a potentially electrifying perimeter scorer.


Brooklyn Nets

First Round: None

Second Round: Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Cory Jefferson (60)

Analysis: The Nets entered the draft with no picks. After trying to trade into the first round, they walked away with three second-round selections. Oklahoma State's Brown has the best chance to make the roster. He’s a four-year college player who is athletic with a decent jump shot. The other two -- San Diego State’s Thames and Baylor’s Jefferson -- are long shots.


Charlotte Hornets

First Round: Noah Vonleh (9), P.J. Hairston (26)

Second Round: Dwight Powell (45)

2014 NBA draft: Breaking down the winners and losers of this year's draft

Al Jefferson


Chicago Bulls

First Round: Doug McDermott (11)

Second Round: Cameron Bairstow (49)

Analysis: The Bulls didn’t want two first-round picks (they began the night with Nos. 16 and 19), not with the goal to keep as much cap space as possible for the pursuit of Carmelo Anthony. And they needed offensive punch off the bench. They get it in McDermott, an elite scorer at Creighton with a diverse arsenal. McDermott will struggle on the other end, but if there is anyone who can turn him into a serviceable defender it’s Tom Thibodeau, who did the same with Carlos Boozer. Bairstow, who averaged 20.4 points as a senior at New Mexico, could stick.


Cleveland Cavaliers

First Round: Andrew Wiggins (1)

Second Round: Joe Harris (33)

Analysis: All along, the Jabari Parker-to-Cleveland storyline felt like a smokescreen. Parker is a top talent and the most NBA-ready player in the draft ... but he’s not Wiggins. The Cavs get a stellar athlete with enormous two-way potential to pair with Kyrie Irving in an impressive young backcourt. Harris is a terrific shooter (40.7 percent from three-point range in four years at Virginia) who may be able to get minutes off the bench.


Dallas Mavericks

First Round: None

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Mavericks lost their first-round pick (which ended up with the Thunder) in the 2011 Lamar Odom trade and dealt two second-round picks to the Knicks this week in the Tyson Chandler trade.


Denver Nuggets

First Round: Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19)

Second Round: Nikola Jokic (41)

NBA Draft Gallery Wiggins.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Parker.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Gordon.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Smart.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Randle.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Stauskas.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Vonleh.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Saric.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Warren.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Payne.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Napier.jpg
NBA Draft Gallery Ennis_0.jpg



Detroit Pistons

First Round: None

Second Round: Spencer Dinwiddie (38)

Analysis: Before sustaining a torn left ACL in January, Dinwiddie was a projected first-round pick. The combo guard is a fine shooter who was having the best of his three seasons at Colorado before the injury, averaging 14.7 points and hitting 41.3 percent from beyond the arc. Will he be the same player coming back? If he is, Detroit will have a nice pickup.


Golden State Warriors

First Round: None

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Warriors traded their first-round pick in last year's sign-and-trade deal for Andre Iguodala and dealt their second-round pick to the Timberwolves in a separate move.


Houston Rockets

First Round: Clint Capela (25)

Second Round: Nick Johnson (42), Alessandro Gentile (53)

Analysis: Not surprisingly, the Rockets took a potential draft-and-stash international prospect in the first round. Houston is clearing cap space for a run at LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony and isn’t looking to add payroll. Capela, 20, a 6-11 Swiss power forward, is an excellent defensive prospect. He’s a very good athlete with a long wingspan. Johnson, the nephew of the late Hall of Fame guard Dennis Johnson, could eventually contribute as a reserve.


Indiana Pacers

First Round: None

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Pacers traded their first-round pick for Luis Scola last year and dealt their second-round pick to the Knicks for cash on Thursday.


Los Angeles Clippers

First Round: C.J. Wilcox (28)